Where are all the young’uns are?

Throughout the week of Lotusphere 2009 I heard the same question asked over and over again: “Where are all the people under 25?”  Looking around the show, I saw a lot and a lot of familiar faces.  These are the people I’ve been meeting and seeing here, in Orlando, year after year.  I’ve watched the PistolStar girls and the BinaryTree models grow up and grow old.  A couple more years, and these girls may actually talk to me.

Sitting over an early-morning breakfast at Perkins, I found myself reminiscing with one of my friends.  Both of us started coming to Lotusphere probably 10 years ago.  We remembered being excited over everything, looking at code, learning new things, attending as many sessions as possible, pestering people in the labs with countless questions.  Back then, we were surrounded by people, by young people, who were as excited and as eager as we were.  Today, we are still surrounded by eager and excited people, but these are the same people from 10 years ago: I see the same faces, I recognize the same names.  My friend remarked that when in sessions, looking around, he felt like a COBOL programmer.  What he found missing is that influx of the young excited and eager people, like the ones we were 10 years ago.  Thinking more and more about it, I felt like the monks in Ben Zander’s story.  Could the lessons from Ben Zander’s closing session speech be applied to us, too?

I don’t think I have to explain why not having many young people attend the Lotusphere or show any general interest in IBM/Lotus technologies is a problem.  We in Orlando spent a week talking about Web 2.0 technologies and social networking, Twitter and the Blogosphere were a lit with #ls09 comments and Lotusphere content.  These are all of the things and technologies that the young generation, the millennial, are supposed to be excited about and using.  However, they are largely unaware of the abilities and possibilities that exist in the Lotus product space and, as the result, choose to use other tools.  Python, Ruby on Rails, Google, iPhone and even .NET and Sharepoint are the technologies and tools that the new generation of IT talent is drawn towards.  Just like a new college grad is not interested in a job writing COBOL or RPG, that same grad is not interested in becoming a Lotus Notes developer — it is simply not cool.  Let’s face it, at some point during the last 10 years we went from being cool to being legacy.   

We, the Lotus folks, have the best community of individuals out there.  No other technical conference attendees arrive 2 days in advance just to hang out with each other.  No other technical community is so closely knit and so dedicated and passionate about their technology.  And no other technical community is this outspoken and no other community enjoys so direct of access to the people who can make things happen.  These are the things to be proud of.  These are things that can make others jealous.  And who wouldn’t want to be a part of such community?

So how do promote ourselves?  How do we encourage others to want to join us?  We have a great possibility to extend our reach beyond the “yellow bubble” and become once again a thriving and vibrant community.  How do we do it?

What ideas do you have?

Open positions at PSC

I should’ve mentioned this a lot sooner…

Several months ago I posted notices that I was looking to add a Lotus Notes/Domino consultant and an administrator to the PSC team. Since then I received an unbelievable number of responses from all over the world.  And I continue to do so until this day.

I want to thank everyone who had expressed interest in joining our team.  We were able to staff these openings pretty quickly.

However, even though we are not looking to add more people to our team, I am always interested in talking and networking with talented individuals in our community.  So if you’re interested in learning more about our award-winning Collaboration team, feel free to drop me a line.

JumpStart 205 – Integration of IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino with Microsoft Office, .NET, and IBM Lotus Symphony

Welcome to the real world, where Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino are just part of your corporate toolset. This session will introduce you to integration of Lotus Notes and Domino 8 and 8.5 with Microsoft Office, .NET technologies, OpenOffice.org, and Lotus Symphony. We’ll start with the basics and gradually build up to advanced integration. Mail Merge, exporting to a spreadsheet, charting, presentation building, and integration on the Web will all be covered. Advanced topics such as Visual Studio Tools for Office and integration with Lotus Domino Web Services will round out the session. All new samples including integration with XPages will provide samples you can use as soon as you get home.

John Head & Alex Kassabov

Dolphin Americas Seminar : Sunday, 1/18/2009 : 8 AM to 9:30 AM
Swan : Sunday, 1/18/2009 : 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM

Note: The first run of this session is only 90 minutes. The second run is 120 minutes. We will have more content in the afternoon session.

And the complete demo database can be downloaded here.  

Oh yeah, and thank you everyone for getting up to see us speak at 8 am on Sunday.

Lotus User Group Virtual User Group Meeting – Real World Integration – Slides and Demo database

This was a great webinar.  Thank you all who took time from their busy schedules to listen to me and John Head.

My first experience doing a webinar.  It was a little strange to be speaking to a group of about 150 people and not being able to see anyone, their reactions.

Here, as promised are the slides from the webinar.

Just in case the embedded viewer doesn’t work for you, here’s a link to SlideShare.

And the demo database can be downloaded here.

There will be a replay available sometime tomorrow.  John and I will answer the questions we could not get to in the LotusUserGroup.org moderated forum.

Once again, thank you all for attending!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – what a great compliment!

I just received probably the greatest compliment any developer can receive.  And it feels even better to receive it for one’s volunteer work.

Last year I did a project with Taproot to design and build a new website for DuPage Habitat for Humanity.  Earlier today, the Executive Director of DHFH forwarded the following email…

…I am co president of HFH in Ogle County, Illinois, just south of Rockford.
We are in the process of establishing a website.  We have been “studying” a lot of websites from across Illinois and to some extent across the country.

We REALLY love your website!  We are going to hire a web designer, we would really like her to pattern our site after yours.  I don’t mean an EXACT copy of course, but we do envision/hope it will (eventually) have the same features and many of the same headings and subheadings…

As a volunteer, thanks are the only form of payment you receive.  That email made me really proud of the work our Taproot team did last year and made all those hours all worth it.  Now I want to do another project.

Picasa for Mac is finally out

Google’s Picasa, a photo organization and editing programs, was one of the things from the Windows world that I was sorely missing on a Mac.  Like most of people nowadays, I have a lot of pictures stored on my networked hard drive at home and I couldn’t find any program, other than Picasa, that would let me quickly browse and organize them.  

Now, finally, Google released a version of Picasa for Mac.  It is available for download from here.

Keep in mind, Google does consider this to be a beta version of the software.  And true enough, I manage to crash or freeze Picasa within a few minutes of using it.  I was deleting some pictures that it found, going one-by-one.  When I selected 2 pictures from the same folder on my hard drive and told Picasa to remove them from disk, the program froze.  I had to Force-Quit it.

Otherwise, this looks like a very solid release.  I am not a power photo editor and so far, out of the features that I do use, I haven’t found any that were missing or not working in the Mac version.  

The only thing I don’t like about Picasa is that it insists on searching your computer for images upon the first time you run the program.  You can’t avoid this step.  Your only choice is to decide whether it will search your entire computer or just your personal folder(s).  I don’t store any images on my laptop, everything is on my networked Maxtor, so this process is a complete waste of time for me, causing me to remove from Picasa’s library whatever it managed to find.  Luckily, this process is pretty quick and removing folders from Picasa is pretty easy.

So if you’re like me and find iPhoto to be a cumbersome product for managing a large photo library, go and get Picasa.  <begin shameless Google plug> Like most things that come from Google, it is pretty damn good. </end shameless Google plug>

PSC presents the next LotusUserGroup.org virtual meeting


On Wednesday, January 14th, John Head and I will be the presenters at the next LotusUserGroup.org virtual meeting.  The topic of the meeting is “The Real World of Integration: How Lotus Notes & Domino Can Work with Microsoft Office, Lotus Symphony and the Power of Integra for Notes”.

In a way, this will be a mini-preview of our Lotusphere Jumpstart session.  Why mini?  Well, for one, it is hard to fit a 2-hour session into a 50-minute time slot.  On the other hand, we didn’t want all of you Lotusphere attendees to skip our sessions on Sunday.  Those of you who are not attending this year’s Lotusphere, don’t be discouraged: our full session slides and demos will all be available for downloads from our blogs after the sessions.

From what I hear, there are already 130 people registered to attend the webinar.  So if you still haven’t registered, do so.  Registration is free.  The webinar itself should be fun and informative.

Full synopsis of the webinar is below…

Welcome to the real world, where Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino are just part of your corporate toolset. This live, online presentation will introduce you to some unique and time saving techniques for the integration of Lotus Notes and Domino with Microsoft Office, .NET technologies, and Lotus Symphony. No matter what version of Notes you’re running (even 8.5) all the way back to 6.5, you’ll come away with a solid plan for Mail Merge, exporting to a spreadsheet, charting, presentation building, and integration on the Web. You’ll learn some advanced topics such as Visual Studio Tools for Office integration with Lotus Domino Web Services. Plus, we’ll show you live demos on how to use Notes & Domino 8.5 to improve your integration options. Finally. we will touch on how the Integra for Notes reporting and integration framework can reduce your cost to provide your users with the reports they need to get their jobs done.

Don’t miss this informative and instructional presentation by leading Lotus guru John Head and long time expert Alex Kassabov. The presentation is free for LotusUserGroup.org members, but requires pre-registration.

Note: Please make sure you have Flash Player 8 or above. The Audio portion for such events is made available using Flash technology. Due to technical limitations on the Mac, Linux and Vista platforms environments, Live Demo Webcasts cannot be fully supported on those platforms at this time.

Thought of the week

Welcome to the New Year, the opportunity to make some new resolutions if not some actual changes.  What I wonder about is if businesses will change the way they look at technology in 2009.  Will 2009 be the year that we join the two camps – that of structured data and transaction processing, and the other of business processes and unstructured data?  Yes, there are two camps, and there is nothing wrong with that.  It is a fact.  Matching the right camp with the right business problem will always be the best solution.  In the past, we have been a little too much of the “if you give me a hammer, everything will look like a nail” school.   In 2009 we should take a step back, jump off of the “me-too” technology bandwagon, and think about the business first, collaborating with our suppliers and customers second, and then try to fit the right technology with the appropriate problem.  We also need to stop looking at projects in isolation.  These are the changes we need to make in 2009.  And we can, because we are (finally) getting smarter about business and technology and how they can work better, together.

(Shamelessly “borrowed” from PSC Group, LLC)